The holidays are coming up, which means that a lot of students and their families will be traveling to spend time with loved ones.
If you’ve read our previous post about bed bugs and travel, you know what that means: your child’s classmates could be returning to school with bed bugs in tow!
Bed bugs are great at hitchhiking, and they can easily find their way from a hotel or airport to a family’s home via luggage, clothing, and even someone’s hair! Once they’ve reached their destination, they can quickly reproduce and infest a new home.
Until the parents notice the infestation, their child may bring bed bugs into school via a backpack, books, clothing, or sports equipment. From there, the bugs can catch a ride on another student’s items—spreading to another family’s home—or stay to infest the school itself.
Bed bug infestations at schools are less common than those at home, though they do happen occasionally. What happens more often is the transfer of bed bugs from one student to another: one student with a bed bug infestation brings a few bugs to school, and those bugs go home with a different student.
In the past few years, several schools in and around the Cincinnati area have been treated following a bed bug sighting. Another school, this time in Parma, Ohio, was recently treated for bed bugs for the second time, according to Fox 8 Cleveland. The bed bugs were spotted at the beginning of the school year, following summer break. The first time the school had bugs was in 2015.
When it comes to making sure your kids don’t bring home bed bugs with their homework, it makes sense to be especially vigilant for a few reasons.
First, schools are extremely susceptible to bed bugs because many people come into contact there every day, usually bringing items from home with them. (It’s the same reason that hotels, airports, libraries, bus stations, and movie theaters are common way stations for the bugs.) As we can see with the Parma High School case, a school can get bed bugs again, even after treating the building.
In addition, not everyone is informed about bed bugs and pest control. Many people don’t know where bed bugs are commonly found or how to check for them. That means that many of your children’s classmates and their families may spend their holiday break in a bed bug-infested hotel and have no idea. (It’s important to note here that anyone can get bed bugs: they can be found in even the finest hotels and the fanciest homes, so it’s not “lower class” or “dirty.”)
While Cincinnati Public Schools includes bed bugs on their page about contagious illnesses (a good sign on the school’s part), there’s no guarantee that every family has read it.
Finally, Cincinnati is one of the worst cities in the country for bed bugs, which means you can bet that a few of your child’s classmates have (or will get) bed bugs.
For these reasons, you’ll want to check for bed bugs often, particularly after holiday breaks and summer vacation. It’s a good idea to inspect your child’s books, lunch box, backpack, and coat. We also advise washing your child’s school things regularly. You can read more about the steps you should take in our previous post about bed bugs in schools.
If you learn that your child’s school has bed bugs, it’s not a bad idea to send your child’s items to school in plastic to prevent bed bugs from sneaking in. If your own home has bed bugs, you should alert the school and call a pest control expert.
Concerned you might have a bed bug infestation on your hands? Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.